MARY AFST 546: African
Traditional Religion Interprets the Bible
The course investigates the underlying basic requirements of a truly
African method of interpreting the Bible and compares it with the
Historical Critical Method. The aim of the course is to guide the
students to appropriate an authentic African exegesis of the bible in
order that they might proclaim its message in symbols and values that
are immediate to Africans.
Most Bible commentaries and everyday written exposition of scriptural
texts generally presuppose European and North American cultural thought
patterns. This is quite evident in the much accepted Historical Critical
Method. As an alternative to this way of interpretation, this course
will offer students a chance to investigate the African way of
understanding biblical culture and milieu in terms of African culture
and milieu. It investigates whether it is possible to arrive at concrete
African hermeneutic principles. It asks how Africans read the Bible and
profitably inculturate the ever enduring biblical message into their
existential situation without a historical critique of the biblical
settings. It asks what Africans understand the Bible to say on issues
such as: Marriage and the Family, African Contemporary Culture,
Bridewealth, Rites of Passage, Death and Rites of Incorporation into
life after death.
The students will seek to find out how Africans read and
interpret the Bible through field research involving participation,
observation and interviews in the following situations:
- Street preaching
- Independent and Pentecostal Services
- Mainline church services
- Bible colleges
- Bible unions in schools
- Campus ministries including New Age Religions.
- Scripture professors
This will be contrasted with the Historical Critical Method as applied
to specific biblical passages.
ATTN: This course can substitute for the
course on African Traditional Religion: Major beliefs, Practices and
Contemporary Forms, a required course for students registered in the
Master degree programs.